Oak Processionary imago, Heesch, Netherlands
This photo is the result of Lisa and Christine putting in motion Moth Week. For the first time, it made me try out a little moth trapping exercise in the garden. An extremely simple setup: white blanket sheet on the wall, illuminated with a strong light.
My expectations were low. Because the area we live in has many light sources, our garden being small and fully renewed this spring, and very likely I'm using the wrong light (I've read success rate dramatically increases with light of a specific wavelength that more closely resembles that of the sun).
I had a spectacular start. First, I duck-taped the sheet to the wall, but it kept collapsing. Then I used screws to hold it in place. When trying to hang the light on one of the screws, I dropped it, and I cut my thumb on the shatters. Replacing the light bulb after the bleeding, it started to rain. We've had a record breaking drought for 2 months, yet at this very moment it started raining, endangering this open electricity that includes a very hot lamp.
Persisting some more, the rain was gone, and the second I turned on the light and turned of all other lights, immediately this one appears. The morning after, only now do I realize its the infamous Oak Processionary in its adult form. The caterpillar of this moth is considered a severe pest to people, and as soon as they are found, the tree is treated with a fluid poisonous only to this species. Furthermore, blue tit birds, which we have a lot of around the garden, deliver biological pest control.
Somehow this individual survived all that and made it to adulthood. I respect that. On the light:
The Oak Processionary is a moth whose caterpillars are pests in oak forests and pose a health hazard because of their poisonous setae, which may cause skin irritation and asthma.